Andy Argyrakis

Roughly 20 years ago, Justin Tranter graduated from the Chicago Academy for the Arts and was already well on his way to becoming a superstar. For starters, he started the alternative/glam rock band Semi Precious Weapons a few years later and made the most of a tremendous opportunity supporting Lady Gaga on “The Monster Ball” Tour (including a now legendary Lollapalooza set in which she stage dove from the singer’s side).

After the band ran its course, Tranter focused his efforts on writing for other artists, notching smash singles for the likes of Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Imagine Dragons, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Selena Gomez and practically every other major act that matters these days. However, the 2018 “Songwriter of the Year” at the BMI Pop Music Awards (who’s also been nominated for a Grammy and Golden Globe) was the first to credit CAA with helping him establish that very creative foundation, so much so that he gifted the esteemed institution with its very own state-of-the-art recording studio aptly named in his honor.

Along with family, friends, faculty and students, Tranter was on hand for a figurative ribbon cutting on the eve of the annual AIDS Benefit he created, sharing stories from youth through getting a shot at fame and being perfectly satisfied re-directing his artistic energies behind the scenes. He also teared up while thanking his unconditionally supportive parents (who were indeed in the house), exchanged fond memories with former classmates and encouraged future graduates to fiercely chase after their dreams.

Tranter’s mentoring role also extended to him performing with current attendees, including rousing versions of Bieber’s “Sorry” and Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” (both of which he co-wrote). They were icing on the cake of a celebration over what may very well make CAA the only educational facility of its kind with this caliber of equipment thanks to an alumnus whose heart is as immense as his rapidly-expanding discography.